The Daughters of Kobani

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
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Why does Lemmon choose to center The Daughters of Kobani on the personal experiences of Azeema, Znarin, Rodja, and Nowruz?

Lemmon chooses to center The Daughters of Kobani on the personal experiences of Azeema, Znarin, Rojda, and Nowruz to structure her story, to add to the power of her narrative, and to help the reader better know these dynamic people.

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Gayle Tzemach Lemmon chooses to center The Daughters of Kobani on the personal experiences of Azeema, Znarin, Rojda, and Nowruz for multiple reasons. It’s possible to claim that the four women structure the narrative. They help bring the story of the YPJ into focus. The four consequential members provide Lemmon with a specific viewpoint into the organization and its activities. The women distinguish Lemmon's account. Minus their particular experiences, Lemmon's book could have become a more general history of the YPJ, which might have made her message less engaging.

In the introduction, Lemmon mentions her previous books about Afghanistan. She says, “I wanted readers to know the young women I met who risked their lives each day fighting for their future.” It’s reasonable to apply her goal for her former books to The Daughters of Kobani. If she wants to create a full picture of the YPJ, Lemmon has to delve into the personal experiences of some of the fighters. She must show readers why these women chose to risk their lives for the YPJ and their fight against ISIS.

The spotlight on personal experiences humanizes the women and helps the reader learn about their backgrounds and care about them and their cause. When Lemmon details Azeema’s revulsion to soap operas and their representation of marriage, or when Lemmon notes Rojda’s love of soccer, she’s arguably supplying the personal moments to showcase the varied motivations behind these complex and courageous people.

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